The EU institutions employ over 40 000 men and women from the 27 EU member countries. The European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) organises 'open competitions' to select personnel for permanent and non permanent positions. Besides permanent staff, the EU also employs contractual agents and temporary staff, offers traineeships and maintains databases of area experts.
The European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) is the first port of call for anyone wanting to work for the EU. Its website explains the selection process and gives advice on preparing for competitions.
Each of the EU institutions has a traineeship programme.
Traineeships in the European Commission (the Blue Book)
There are two five-month traineeship sessions at the European Commission – one which begins in March and the second which begins in October. To apply for either session, you have to plan in advance, as closing dates are at the end of the previous August for the March session and at the end of January for the October session. EU citizens and non-EU citizens can apply and successful trainees will receive a monthly allowance. Applicants must be graduates and must have a very good knowledge of two EU languages (non-EU citizens must only have one).
Note: at the European Commission, it is also possible to apply for a translation traineeship for example or for a scientific traineeship (Joint Research Centre).
Traineeships in the EU institutions
The EU institutions employ over 40,000 people – mainly in the European Union, but also in locations around the world. As an EU citizen, you are eligible to apply for a position in any of the EU institutions.
‘Open competitions’ or concours to secure permanent positions as EU officials or fonctionnaires in any of the EU institutions are managed centrally by the European Personnel Selection Office.
The requirements for each competition vary so be sure to read the instructions relating to a particular competition very carefully before applying.
You can create an EPSO account and your EU CV at any time in order to be a step ahead when a relevant competition is published.
Note: EU officials must be able to operate in more than one EU language.
European Personnel Selection Office
There are also temporary positions available with EU institutions, agencies and bodies – mainly Contract Staff positions (many of the institutions refer to these as CAST contracts) and Temporary Staff positions (fixed contract positions with conditions similar to permanent contracts).
Some CAST competitions are permanently open. In these cases, you can apply at any time and when the institutions need candidates to fill a position, they will consult this list and proceed with the recruitment procedures.
For positions within the EU agencies, please consult the lists of vacancies from the individual EU agencies/bodies themselves.
If you have any questions about any of the above, please send an email to COMM-IE-INFO-REQUEST@ec.europa.eu with ‘EU Careers’ in the subject line.
In addition, the Irish Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs runs an EU Jobs campaign to increase awareness about the career opportunities available for Irish people in the EU institutions. They can also be followed on social media @EUJobsIreland. The Government also supports candidates who have applied for permanent jobs in the EU institutions, providing information and advice for the duration of the competition.
The European Movement Ireland produces a ‘Green Book’ (updated annually) which details the internships and other job opportunities available for Irish graduates in Brussels. In addition, the European Movement issues a weekly newsletter listing up to date career opportunities and open competitions.
Department of Foreign Affairs EU Jobs campaign
European Movement Ireland Green Book